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Electoral bonds: SBI moves Supreme Court seeks for more time to furnish buyers’ data

The State Bank of India on Monday lodged an application in the Supreme Court seeking extension of time till June 30 to furnish buyers’ data regarding electoral bonds to the Election Commission. While striking down the electoral bonds scheme, the Supreme Court directed SBI to furnish the details to the Election Commission by March 6.

In its application, the State Bank of India submitted that the retrieval of information from each silo and the procedure of matching the information of one silo to that of the other would be a time consuming exercise. It explained that the details are sorted separately, some of the details like number of bonds are stored digitally while the other details like the name of the purchaser, KYC etc are stored physically.

The application underlined that the purpose of storing all details was to ascertain that it cannot be gathered easily to achieve the object of the scheme. The apex court had earlier directed the SBI to disclose details like the date of encashment and denomination of the electoral bonds. 

A five judge Constitution Bench on February 15, stroke down the electoral bond scheme, terming it to be unconstitutional. Pronouncing its verdict, the court directed the State Bank of India to cease issuing electoral bonds with immediate effect. 

The apex court ordered SBI to furnish the Election Commission of India with detailed records of all electoral bond contributions received by various political parties from the scheme’s interim order in 2019 up to the present date. The bench led by CJI DY Chandrachud observed that the SBI shall submit the details to the Election Commission in three weeks and the ECI shall publish these details on their website.

Introduced in 2018, the electoral bonds scheme was intended to increase transparency in political donations. Nonetheless, critics argued that the anonymity provided by the scheme fostered corruption and upset the level playing field among political parties.

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